2013-14 Herald All-Area Teams | Lakewood Ranch's Juliana Guida named Girls Soccer Player of the Year

jdill@bradenton.comApril 17, 2014 


Like an offensive lineman in football, soccer defenders don't get much attention.

The tag for best player usually is bestowed on a forward or midfielder who scores the goals.

But Juliana Guida's performance along the back line for Lakewood Ranch's girls soccer team this season was integral to the Mustangs' success. Lakewood Ranch reached the state final four for the second consecutive season and finished with a 23-1-1 record.

And it's why Guida was named the Bradenton Herald All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

"The offense gets credit because they're the ones that score," Guida said. "And when (the goalkeeper) saves a goal, she's the last one to save it. ... It's kind of huge, because I never really get recognized for anything. Now that I have gotten recognized, it's pretty cool."

Guida shared primary defensive duties with Lindsay Martinez and goalkeeper Alex Lathem. The Mustangs yielded just 10 goals and held opponents off the scoreboard 18 times.

The latter two players were Herald first-team selections, while Martinez formed a partnership with Guida that was so stout the opposition found difficulty finding a way through to Latham in Ranch's goal.

"We've actually been playing together since we were little," Guida said. "So we're really good together. We don't even have to talk to each other. We can tell what the other person is going to do."

Playing in the center of the defense, Guida faced a tough task after Ranch

graduated several players off last season's team.

"I'm pretty sure no one expected to get that far this year, because we did last year but we didn't think we'd be as good," Guida said.

The Mustangs were that good, running through district competition with an 11-0-1 mark that ended with a district championship. Guida, who is heading to Florida Southern next year, was a key reason.

And her skills at the back are unique. Guida isn't a typical soccer player in that she doesn't watch the sport. So she doesn't view professionals and approach the game the way they do. It's her own style.

"Most defenders freak out if someone beats them," Guida said. "I try to stay calm and just wait it out until the other person makes a mistake. And then go in and take it from them."

Sometimes that means relying on her pace to recover when a forward does beat her off the dribble.

However, it didn't happen often.

The highlight was shutting down forwards en route to reaching the state final four at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne.

"We got to play on a college field and that was pretty cool," Guida said.

Now she'll take that talent to the next level when she departs for Florida Southern after graduation.

But first, Guida will relish the spotlight after she aided an 18-shutout season en route to a deep postseason run.

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